PR Campaigns to build engagement
Besides an agreement to marry, being engaged also defines the act of being ‘involved’ with something or someone.
In the marketing world, how engaged your audience is depends on how deeply they relate to your company and how interested they are.
Are your customers loyal and passionate advocates of your brand? Or are they cynical and distracted?
Having a brand, with an engaged audience is the key to long-term sustainability in your market. This can be facilitated with PR campaigns focused on building engagement.
The term brand engagement is often loosely defined as: emotional commitment, loyalty and a shining reputation that spreads rapidly by word-of-mouth.
Social media engagement
There are many tools to help measure communications engagement, and on social media, this engagement can easily be monitored through interactions. Shares, comments and likes represent a direct feedback loop from customers, telling you how well individuals interact with your content.
With articles and blog posts, engagement can be measured with metrics like scroll depth which measures how far down a visitor scrolls, time on page, and number of comments. Although these metrics can give a false impression when viewed in isolation, when combined they paint a clear picture of engagement.
How to create a PR campaign to build engagement
PR campaigns which are focused on promoting engagement, rely on content that is interesting, positive, insightful and actionable. This approach should be supported by a strategy that’s designed to spark positive conversations about your brand.
Campaigns and content which arouse emotions like excitement and wonder are shared more often than content eliciting a more negative response. This was revealed in research from Berger and Milkman, which analysed thousands of articles from New York Times to find the factors that fuel shareability. The results showed a strong relationship between virality and content that evokes positive emotion.
Content with a positive outlook – inspiring awe and wonder – is naturally more contagious and likely to start conversations. On the flipside, content evoking anxiety or anger was found to be more shareable than articles that served to confuse or sadden the audience.
Campaigns and content that educate your audience and provide insightful answers to your audience’s burning questions invites engagement by sparking conversations.
This content can be delivered in the form of thought leadership articles which give expert opinions on industry issues, and answer commonly asked questions to help build and grow your brand into the industry authority on such matters.
At the same time, demonstrating expertise and credibility can help with your brand positioning by showing your audience that you understand the plethora of possible solutions available, and the pros and cons of each.
Case studies can bring insights to life by relaying direct experiences — acknowledging the audience’s problems and re-living emotions by bringing the problem to life, and then using the classic arc of the hero’s tale to show how it can be overcome.
Articles that make the rounds on social media are often not only insightful, but actionable.
Content and campaigns that can easily be actioned, generate more engagement because they can have a direct impact on people’s lives; leading them to share their own experiences so they might contribute to solving other people’s problems. According to a study from The New York Times, The Psychology of Sharing, over 90% of social media users assessed the usefulness of a piece before sharing it.
So, along with shining a light on the problem, actionable content should be clear in highlighting a solution, by providing clear advice on how to surpass the struggles. For maximum impact, your advice should be extremely practical and very different from what your market competitors are offering.
Engaging with your audience on social media
Unlike the past when only those in PR or media could easily voice their opinions on products and services, blogging sites and online review platforms have now created a shared narrative — opening a two-way street of communication which is plastered across the internet for all to see.
To shape these discussions and ensure that the content you are sharing is getting the best possible reception, you need to be consistently engaging with your audience on relevant social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Exactly how you engage will depend on your brand personality and tone of voice. You might be sassy with hot takes, or you may be more helpful and sincere.
By joining the conversation on trending topics, you can establish your brand expertise and demonstrate authority by hosting ‘ask me anything’ (AMA) sessions or curating relevant content. Asking questions to get to know your audience and responding to customer service requests creates a shared narrative, helping to humanize your brand and form relationships with industry influencers to help drive engagement.
Whatever campaign direction you choose to take, and whatever your objectives are, supporting your editorial and branded content with a clear social media strategy will swing the engagement algorithms in your favour, helping you to build a community that follows your brand’s every move. The bigger and more engaged your audience is, the more likely it is that every piece of content you create will spread further and feed into prolonged, positive conversations about your brand.
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